In 2016 my world was unrecognizable. I unexpectedly lost my sister and before I could grieve, I lost my job. Shaken and unprepared, I had a choice. Let it destroy me or become a better version of myself. I couldn’t surrender but needed help. I started researching through books, videos, online courses. I rebuilt my resume, set the bar high and refused to settle. I accepted a job offer not for the pay raise but for it’s potential. Shortly after I started, my mom passed away. Leaving me as the only woman in my family. I didn’t think I’d make it but kept putting one foot in front of the other. Focusing on self-improvement, learned to be vulnerable, showed up and participated even when I didn’t want to. I bravely started asking for help when I needed it, seeking counsel from those who cared about me, picking up the phone when I knew I needed someone to talk to and the craziest thing happened. I somehow managed to reinvent myself while I was just trying to get through one day at a time. Sure, it is painful but there is so much still left out there that is wonderful and I had to fight my way through the hard parts so that I could see the beauty again. It is not a solo journey, and there is no destination, but I get to decide how I live it and I am a warrior because I've remade myself with hope.
I know that the last couple of posts I have written seemed to follow a theme and while I'm changing it up for this post, I will get back to all of that shortly. But tonight something happened, and I can't help but share it.
See, this blog started as an outlet for me, and it continues to be a safe place for me to write, vent, express and sometimes just bitch about the things that maybe I don't have the balls actually to address in real life. But at least if I can write it down, I can get it out of my head and continue moving forward.
So.. Tonight was amazing, I went out with the girls to sing karaoke, and we had a great time! I probably drank a little too much, but hey, I wasn't driving! My Lyft driver was fantastic!! =) When I got home though I made some inferior decisions.
See, it has almost been a year since my mom went into the hospital and about this time last year I saved all of the old voicemails from my phone onto an external drive and when I got home and was checking my email I came across the reminders of the files I added a year ago. If you don't already know, let me just tell you that listening to the voice of someone who has passed away after you have alcohol in your system is a terrible idea. All it does it intensify your emotions and make it that much more hysterical.
I honestly don't know if I will ever be ready to hear those again. Maybe in another 20 years but for right now I can still hear my mom's voice in my head, I still know what she sounds like, and I don't need a reminder. I thought it would be good to hold on to all of those old voicemails just in case, but that was before I knew how she would forever be etched into my memories and how much it would hurt actually to hear her voice again instead of just imagining it.
I say all of this, but I also feel the need to mention that my mom was the most amazing person I have ever met. Anyone who knew her would agree because I show no bias by saying that, she was truly the most loving and accepting person and I know that everything she did in her short time here wasn't for nothing, it couldn't have been. I know that she has to be somewhere, doing great things. I have to believe that deep down she knows that she doesn't have to worry about me because she raised me right and she prepared me for all that has and is still to come and no matter what, I am going to be alright. I love you, and I miss you, mom!
When someone pays me a compliment I usually down play it or shrug it off because for whatever reason compliments make me feel uncomfortable. Someone told me recently that I know how to persevere, and I just nodded in agreement at the time, but I've been questioning whether or not they were right about me.
Perseverance is an admirable trait to possess, but not always a glamorous one. Overcoming adversities in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement is hard work, and the reward doesn't always feel good because to be successful you have to make tough decisions that others in your life may not agree with.
I am straight forward and blunt about most things, and on occasion, I lack tact. Chalk that up to working in a predominantly male environment all of my adult life and the fact that I have mostly male hobbies I guess. Whatever the reason, I usually spend a lot of time playing defense after I've said something in the wrong tone or at the wrong time or it gets taken out of context. I feel like the details of how or when or why I deliver a message shouldn't matter as much as the message itself, why get lost in the details?
I realize that not everyone else thinks this way, but I like to think that those who know me well are at least willing to give me the benefit of the doubt and look at what I'm doing rather than how I got it done. I also believe that I am open-minded and smart enough to admit that I won't get it right every time which means I need help. I need feedback and advice, thoughts and suggestions, and sometimes I just need to say it out loud to hear myself think.
Things don't always have to be done my way, but they do have to get done. I wake up every morning with the best of intentions, not with a plot to piss anyone off. My mom had a rule that I have and will always continue to live by which is "don't complain unless you can suggest a solution or you are willing to work on finding one."
I would like to say that I'm adapting well to all of the changes. I'm still learning that it is not possible for me to be three different people but I can adopt some of the traditions that were most important to them and make sure those continue. I allowed myself to believe that I was gaining some life balance, but that is not the case. Instead, I think I have adjusted enough to free up the brain capacity needed to see that other things have changed too and not in a positive way. In all fairness, some of it was probably there all along, and I was either too naive to see it, or I refused to acknowledge it because doing so would mean that the foundation I have built upon and the values I believe in are just smoke and mirrors. Unfortunately, once you open your eyes it is not possible to just close them and forget what you saw and since I am not capable of just ignoring things I am forced to address them.
My family is sacred to me. They give me strength and power and most of all they give me courage. I remember starting my first "real" job, and one of my co-workers mentioned that he had not spoken to his family in over a year and honestly, that completely blew my mind because at the time I talked to my mom, dad, sister and brother on weekly, sometimes daily basis. For the life of me, I could not begin to understand what could keep someone from communicating with their family because my family is such a huge part of my world. While I hope I'm wrong, I am starting to think I understand how that can happen now.
you were the confidence in my voice
the balance in my dance
you were my favorite pair of jeans
the shade of color my eyes needed
you were the shoes that fit just right
the keeper of my secrets
you were the compliment to my faults
the argument of my debate
you were the words I never had to say
the binding that held me together
I pass you on the street
hear you call my name
see you in a crowded room
feel you next to me
my weary mind wanders and my brave heart breaks
when I close my eyes and can't picture your face
Last night was tough. Watching the voice by myself was hard, considering you watched it with me last week. This morning I woke up and started working, and then I had probably the worst idea ever, which was watching the video from the funeral the slideshow of all the pictures. It was too soon to do that I laughed a little and cried a lot, but I can honestly say that today was better than yesterday I've been out to mom and dads every day to check on Gary and the kids and to my surprise, they are all doing well and hanging in there like champs! We are going to make it, so don't worry about us. I love you, and I know I'll see you again someday.
My sister passed away 6 days ago but the last 6 days have felt like an eternity. Yesterday was the funeral. The Pastor, David Rice was amazing. He met with our family and close friends Sunday to listen to our stories of her and for someone who never actually got to meet my sister you would have never known it the way he talked about her. He shared our memories and really did an outstanding job of keeping it light, making it possible to celebrate her life between all of the tears.
At the graveside my dad and my nephew got out their guitars and serenaded my sister one last time with the song "Cover you in kisses" by John Michael Montgomery and the chorus goes like this:
I'd cover you in kisses
Hold you in my arms
That's all that I can think of
Every minute we're apart
Darlin' I've been livin'
For the moment that we touch
So I can cover you in kisses
And wrap you in my love
My sister and I had a unique relationship, she was 11 when I was born so more often than not she stood in as my second mom. I love her unconditionally and I will miss her like crazy but I know that I will see her again someday and I have one hell of a guardian angel watching over me.